Instant Pot Chicken Breast Recipe

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Making Instant Pot Chicken Breast is quick and easy if you have the right recipe. Plus it comes out juicy and tender every single time, making it a family favorite dinner choice for busy nights.

One chicken breast that was made in the Instant Pot on a white plate with tomatoes and lettuce.

Whether it’s for an entrée or to add to another recipe, pressure cooking chicken breast takes a fraction of the time compared to any other method.

You can also season them any way you like too, so they pair well with any cuisine. And you can make whole or shredded chicken, making this recipe even more versatile.

The best part is that the chicken cooks so quickly that it’s easy to make a batch at the beginning of the week. Then you have a tasty protein source to make meal prep easier for the week.

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup of filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning

Equipment

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Mixing bowl
  • Instant Pot
  • Instant Pot Steamer Rack
  • Cutting board
  • Tongs

By the Numbers: How to Make Juicy Instant Pot Chicken Breast

Follow these simple steps to learn how to make the best recipe for chicken breast in the Instant Pot.

Step 1: Season Chicken Breasts.

Place 4 fresh chicken breasts into a mixing bowl, then season them with 1 teaspoon of sea salt, 1 teaspoon of black pepper, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder and 1 teaspoon of Italian Seasoning or 4 teaspoons of the spices of your choice. Be sure to get the chicken breasts evenly coated on all sides.

Chicken breasts and seasoning in a glass mixing bowl.

Step 2: Add Steamer Rack and Water to Instant Pot.

Place your steamer rack or basket in the bottom of the Instant Pot inner pan, then add 1 cup of water (if using a 6-quart model). If you’re using an 8-quart model, add 1 ½ cups of water.

Filtered water and steamer rack in the Instant Pot.

Step 3: Add Chicken to Instant Pot.

Add boneless chicken breasts in a single layer to the Steamer Rack or Steamer Basket, making sure it’s up out of the water.

Seasoned chicken breasts added to the Instant Pot on the trivet

Step 4: Pressure Cook Chicken.

Close the lid and make sure the pressure release valve in in the closed, sealing position. Cook on High Pressure for 6 minutes.

When the cook time is up, allow for a complete natural pressure release before removing the lid, which should take about 7 minutes. If you use a quick pressure release, the chicken may be tougher.

Instant Pot being set on high for 6 minutes

Step 5: Serve Chicken Breast.

Serve your tender pressure cooker chicken breast with your favorite side dishes.

Chicken breast, lettuce and tomato on a white plate on a blue wood counter in front of an Instant Pot

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Tips for Perfect Instant Pot Chicken Breasts

Answers to all of your questions about cooking chicken breast in an Instant Pot pressure cooker, including tips and substitution ideas.

Larger or smaller chicken breasts

Cook time will depend on the size of the individual breasts. In this recipe, we used 6-ounce fresh boneless skinless chicken breasts.

If you’re using larger breasts, add a few minutes to the cooking time. For smaller chicken breasts, shorten the cook time by one minute.

Bone-in chicken breasts

If you don’t have boneless breasts, you’ll need to double the cook time. Bone-in chicken takes longer to come to temperature around the areas of bone, so it doesn’t cook as quickly as boneless.

Avoid tough chicken breasts

It’s a good idea to brine your breasts for 24 hours by putting them in the refrigerator in a covered bowl with ¼ cup of sea salt dissolved in water. Before cooking the breasts, rinse them off under cold water then pat dry. Brining your breasts in salted water will make them taste amazing and it will help tenderize them.

If brining your breasts doesn’t make them tender enough, you can always get a mallet out and beat them until they’re tender. Sprinkling a small amount of salt over the breast while you’re beating them can help act as a meat tenderizer.

Pressure cook frozen chicken breasts

I personally prefer to use fresh or thawed chicken for consistent flavor and texture. However, you can also cook frozen breasts in an Instant Pot. The only difference is you’ll need to double the cook time.

The pot will take longer to come to pressure as well, so cooking from frozen takes longer than cooking from thawed. But if you forgot to take chicken out of the freezer, it’s no problem because it can go straight from the freezer to the Instant Pot.

To rack or not to rack?

There is a lot of debate online about whether you should put chicken breasts on a rack or cook them directly in the pot. I personally cook mine on a rack.

Some people prefer how chicken breasts come out when they’re cooked directly in the liquid in the Instant Pot pan. They will get a more direct heat from the pot that way, so you want to make sure you have enough liquid to almost cover the breasts if you want to try pressure cooking them without a rack.

More chicken seasoning ideas

I have been creating seasoning recipes for years, and most of them are absolutely amazing on chicken. Try using 4 teaspoons of one of my favorite spice mixes instead of the blend listed in the recipe:

What other cooking liquids add flavor?

You need 1 full cup of water or liquid for a 6-quart Instant Pot, or 1 ½ cups water or liquid for an 8-quart Instant Pot. If you skip this step, you’re more likely to end up with a burn warning.

To experiment with new flavors, try one of these cooking liquids in place of water for a more flavorful chicken breast:

  • Chicken stock (get my chicken stock recipe)
  • Pineapple juice
  • Apple juice
  • Half soy sauce, half water
  • Half lemon juice, half water
  • Half chicken broth, half barbecue sauce (plus more BBQ sauce for topping after cooking)

What temperature should chicken be cooked to?

Chicken breasts should be cooked to an internal temperature of 165˚ F when checked with a meat thermometer. I personally like using a digital thermometer because they give you an instant read.

How to make shredded chicken?

If you plan to shred your chicken, I recommend choosing one of the more flavorful liquids above instead of water.

When cooking is done, remove the steamer rack and shred the chicken breast in the liquid. It will soak up the moisture and the flavors to help keep it tender.

If there is too much liquid left in the pot after cooking, you can transfer the chicken breasts to a cutting board to shred them. Then you can add it back to the pot with as much of the liquid as needed to keep the shredded meat moist.

Ways to use chicken breast?

There are so many easy chicken recipes that use pre-cooked chicken. Here are some of my favorites.

Storage tips

Leftover chicken should be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for no more than 3-4 days. Refrigerate within 2 hours of cooking.

And, according to the USDA, prepared chicken can be frozen in freezer safe containers or airtight bags for up to 4 months for best flavor and texture.

Do chicken thighs have the same cook time?

If you want to cook boneless chicken thighs in your Instant Pot, you can use this same cooking method and recipe. For bone-in thighs, double the cook time.

14. Best side dish ideas

If you want to serve these chicken breasts as a main dish, some of my favorite sides are:

More Instant Pot chicken recipes

Pressure cooking chicken breasts is my favorite way to prepare them because it’s so versatile. Try some of these other great Instant Pot chicken recipes:

Tips to simplify weekly meal prep.

Simplifying meal prep can make life so much easier for busy moms. I like to plan my meals each month with a Printable Meal Planner. In addition to knowing what we’re eating every night, grocery shopping is so much easier too.

That said, I also do a lot of grocery shopping online so I don’t make impulse purchases at the store that throw off my meal plan. I do most of my online grocery shopping with Misfits Market because I get to save food from the landfills. If they’re not available in your area yet, check out my lists of the best places to grocery shop online for Meat, Produce and Seafood.

Seasoned chicken breast on a white plate with tomatoes and lettuce that was cooked in an Instant Pot pressure cooker

Instant Pot Chicken Breast Recipe

Learn how to make juicy Instant Pot chicken breasts with this easy recipe. Eat them as an entrée or use them for your meal prep plans.
5 from 2 votes
Print Recipe
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 6 minutes
Pressure Time: 14 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Recipe Servings: 4

Ingredients

Equipment

Instructions

  • Season the chicken breasts evenly on all sides with sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder and Italian Seasoning.
    Chicken breasts and seasoning in a glass mixing bowl.
  • Put steamer rack and 1 cup of water in the bottom of the pot for a 6-quart Instant Pot.
    Filtered water and steamer rack in the Instant Pot.
  • Lay chicken breasts in a single layer on the steamer rack.
    Seasoned chicken breasts added to the Instant Pot on the trivet
  • Close the lid and put the valve in the sealing position. Cook on High Pressure for 6 minutes with a complete natural pressure release.
    Instant Pot being set on high for 6 minutes
  • Serve your juicy Instant Pot Chicken breast with your favorite side dishes.
    Chicken breast, lettuce and tomato on a white plate on a blue wood counter in front of an Instant Pot

Nutrition Information Per Serving

Calories: 199kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 784mg | Potassium: 651mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 62IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 22mg | Iron: 1mg

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